William Klein. Roma fotografie 1956-1960

Piazzale Flaminio, 1956. Stampa fotografica ai sali d’argento. © William Klein
14/04 - 25/07/2010
Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali

Following the success of his book of photographs on New York, in 1956 a young William Klein (painter, graphic artist and photographer), arrived in Rome to assist Federico Fellini in the direction of the film Nights of Cabiria (1957). Taking advantages of a delay in the shooting starting, Klein with his camera, strolled about the city with Fellini, Pasolini, Flaiano, Moravia, and other avant-garde Italian writers and artists serving as his guides. The young American photographer captured the magical atmosphere of the Fifties, depicting a new powerful photographic fresco of Rome.

Klein’s work on Rome, which was published in Italy by Feltrinelli in 1958, has become a landmark of visual culture and an indispensable reference for every photographer. The innovative, irreverent, and surprising style of the author is accompanied, in the book, by texts written by his illustrious “friends” and by a collection of curious short travel notes which enrich the visual story with irony and intelligence. Klein’s Rome, one of the most famous collections in the history of photography, witnesses his surprising visionariness and his love for this city.

After fifty years, this exhibition and its catalogue pay a photographic tribute to the surprising depth and intensity of the gaze of William Klein. On display here for the first time, Klein’s Rome confirms his photographic genius and bears witness to the recent golden age of our city.

The exhibition brings together sixty large size pictures in one of the most fascinating and emblematic places in Rome. Demonstrations, strolls about the Roman Forum, Sundays at Ostia, scenes from everyday life and fashion sets: everything happens in the incredible background of the Eternal City. These images are interwoven with the history of the city, putting together voices and presences, ancient and contemporary Rome to the Rome of the Fifties.

The Artist
Born in New York in 1928 into a Jewish family of Hungarian descent, when he was 18 William Klein spent two years in the army and then settled in Paris to become a painter. In 1954 he returned to New York and worked to a photographic diary that was published two years later, Life Is Good & Good for You in New York, which won the Prix Nadar. Afterwards he went to Rome to assist Fellini. In the late 50s he started to shoot films, his main occupation for the following years. In the 80s Klein returns to photography and publish many books. His work are exhibited around the world and have won many awards. Countless are the works, the books, the projects carried out by this versatile and indefatigable artist. In 2008 he published Contacts, the volume edited by Contrasto, which accompanies the eponymous exhibition.

The pictures on display are printed by Soluzioni Arte, Roma


Mercati di Traiano Museo dei Fori Imperiali
Opening hours

From Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm
Closed on Monday
Last admission one hour before closing time

Entrance ticket

Adults € 8.00
Reduced € 6.00 (EU citizens from 18 to 25 years of age, Bibliocard/C.T.S./Metrebus Card holders; other concessions)

Free of charge (EU citizens under 18 and over 65 years, disabled)


060608 (every day from 9.00 am to 9.00 pm)

Exhibition|Photography, Exhibition|Documentary
Other information

Promoted by
Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali e della Comunicazione del Comune di Roma - Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali in collaborazione con Contrasto

Web site
Zètema progetto Cultura
Sponsored by

Banche Tesoriere del Comune di Roma: BNL – Gruppo BNP Paribas, UniCredit Banca di Roma, Monte dei Paschi di Siena; Lottomatica, Atac, Vodafone

With technical contributions from

La Repubblica



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